Shehab Ahmed, the CEO of Visit Guide, said that 17 travel agencies control 99% of the market share, and 1% is left for the rest of the world (almost 60,000 travel agencies according to the International Air Transport Association).
Daily News Egypt sat down with Ahmed to learn about his company. He said that Visit Guide used to do advertising to reach customers, but then they shifted to OTA technology that automates sales.
He noticed that small travel agencies pay a lot of money to reach customers using social media, while big mainstream Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), such as Booking and Expedia, direct most of their budget to the Google Travel platform. Therefore, Visit Guide partnered with Google.
“Hotels, resorts and travel agencies can now use our software to upload their inventory, and we will sell it for them, with the help of Google,” said Ahmed.
On the other hand, he revealed that COVID-19 almost killed his startup, and his team did not get their salaries for six months, as they did not receive any funding from local VCs. Moreover, he had to sell 90% of his assets to keep funding the startup.
Ahmed said that Visit Guide relies on partnerships and integration with big companies, like Google Travel, and that he plans to integrate with other aggregators soon.
“Expedia and Booking are our main competitors, and they have been dominating the market for around 20 years, but we managed to penetrate the market with the help of my co-founders who sacrificed a lot, Merna Ehab and Mahmoud Ebid,” he added.